Sunday, October 29, 2017

House on the Borderland - Review by SE

The William Hope Hodgson Megapack: 35 Classic WorksThe William Hope Hodgson Megapack: 35 Classic Works by William Hope Hodgson
S.E rating: 4 of 5 stars

“What does it all mean?” – narrator of House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

I bought Wildside Press's The William Hope Hodgson Megapack: 35 Classic Works primarily to read one of his most well cited works: The House on the Borderland. In the US, the Kindle version is only $0.99, and conveniently organizes 35 of William Hope Hodgson ‘s work with introductions from Darrell Schweitzer and Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Being a Megapack, it may take a while to read the whole thing, so I check in now to review. The collection is a great value.

The House on the Borderland (1908) was written by William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918) who influenced many weird fiction writers. In the introduction, we have NOTES ON HODGSON, by H.P. Lovecraft which is telling:
”Of rather uneven stylistic quality, but vast occasional power in its suggestion of lurking worlds and beings behind the ordinary surface of life, is the work of William Hope Hodgson, known today far less than it deserves to be.

.... The House on the Borderland (1908)—perhaps the greatest of all Mr. Hodgson’s works—tells of a lonely and evilly regarded house in Ireland which forms a focus for hideous otherworld forces and sustains a siege by blasphemous hybrid anomalies from a hidden abyss below. The wanderings of the Narrator’s spirit through limitless light-years of cosmic space and Kalpas of eternity, and its witnessing of the solar system’s final destruction, constitute something almost unique in standard literature. And everywhere there is manifest the author’s power to suggest vague, ambushed horrors in natural scenery. But for a few touches of commonplace sentimentality this book would be a classic of the first water.”
H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath seems similar to the strange quest presented in House on the Borderland. Sidebar, I am a huge fan of HPL’s Pickman’s Model and have been motivated to read the Dream-Quest novel since it has Pickman and his ghouls appear again, but the journey is so extended and unfocused, I have failed three times to finish that tale.

WHH’s House on the Borderland is very similar in style, but I could finish this one! The story is more plot-centric than character-driven; the meandering journey can easily lose the reader, at times becoming repetitive. However, it’s unique strength is its epic tale and flowery language interlaced with mystery & terror. The scope is truly epic. The tale concerns two adventurous hikers who go to remote Ireland, discover a enormous pit and ruined house. In the ruins, they find the titular manuscript: The House on the Borderland. The remaining story switches narration to the writer's perspective. The recluse narrator encounters lots of terror: his haunted house, the swine-things stalking him in the gardens, evils floating up from the Pit, disease corrupting his body, and being extracted from his body to lose one’s anchor in reality…. and have one’s soul float across the cosmos into heavenly and hellish worlds.

Characterization is weak & distant, but read this for the Journey: The main narrator is nameless, and his relationship with his sister is bizarre. At times when she should be involved, Mary is marginalized or disregarded to the point I thought she may be a ghost. Several instances have the narrator securing himself in a locked room with no concern about Mary who is left elsewhere prone to attack. WHH seems to be aware of this and writes: “She is old, like myself; yet how little we have to do with one another. Is it because we have nothing in common; or only that, being old, we care less for society, than quietness?” But this does not make up for her floating in and out of the story so oddly.

There is also the “dear One”, a nameless love interest of the narrator. She mysteriously appears in the middle of the story (which is weird because the House is very remote) but her prime story is literally left out as “unreadable fragments”? WTH? Why? It seemed as easy out for WHH to avoid real storytelling than it did for driving any story line. I any event, this approach deflates the cool/weirdness of the narrator searching and finding remnants of his "dear One’s" soul. It was confusing, and I was convinced for a while that she may have been Mary.

Pepper, the dog, is a splendid character and plays a larger role than Mary. And there is “Tip,” Mary’s cat which is abruptly introduced and then disregarded. Why Tip got a name and the dear One did not, I have no idea. Names are important, but in this story, the characters are simply less important than the places.

The names of the strange geography resonant like a Jack Vance novel: Plain of Silence; The Sea of Sleep; The Pit; House in the Arena; and Green Sun. Reading this will be more pleasurable if you focus on the trippy geography than the characters. The language is captivating; excerpt below. At times, WHH seems to be blatantly ironic, like when he uses the word “Presently?” in the middle of a timeless adventure. Really? Like most weird fiction writers of the early 20th century, they peppered their prose with the transitional word “Presently.” WHH did so ironically throughout the trippy, disembodied adventures across time & outerspace.

"What does it all mean?" : I don't know. Nevertheless, the journey is very weird and very fun. A must read for weird fiction aficionados.

It might have been a million years later, that I perceived, beyond possibility of doubt, that the fiery sheet that lit the world, was indeed darkening.
Another vast space went by, and the whole enormous flame had sunk to a deep, copper color. Gradually, it darkened, from copper to copper-red, and from this, at times, to a deep, heavy, purplish tint, with, in it, a strange loom of blood.

… Gradually, as time fled, I began to feel the chill of a great winter. Then, I remembered that, with the sun dying, the cold must be, necessarily, extraordinarily intense. Slowly, slowly, as the aeons slipped into eternity, the earth sank into a heavier and redder gloom. The dull flame in the firmament took on a deeper tint, very somber and turbid.

… Overhead, the river of flame swayed slower, and even slower; until, at last, it swung to the North and South in great, ponderous beats, that lasted through seconds. A long space went by, and now each sway of the great belt lasted nigh a minute; so that, after a great while, I ceased to distinguish it as a visible movement; and the streaming fire ran in a steady river of dull flame, across the deadly-looking sky.

…An indefinite period passed, and it seemed that the arc of fire became less sharply defined. It appeared to me to grow more attenuated, and I thought blackish streaks showed, occasionally. Presently, as I watched, the smooth onward-flow ceased; and I was able to perceive that there came a momentary, but regular, darkening of the world.”

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Helen's Daimones - Goodreads Giveaway!

In US, CA, or UK? Win a free copy of Helen's Daimones!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Helen's Daimones by S.E. Lindberg

Helen's Daimones

by S.E. Lindberg

Giveaway ends November 28, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Thursday, October 26, 2017

First Review of Helen's Daimones comes in from Greece!

It is fitting that the first published review of Helen's Daimones comes in from Greece!  

Daimones is a Greek word (yes, like Dyscrasia, I did not make up the word).  "Daimones" refers to any spiritual entity, angel or demon.

The rating is swell, but more importantly in the thoughtfulness in the  review will future readers delve into the series. It is penned by Andrew Paul Weston, a lead author in Perseid Press's Hell series (i.e. Hell Bound and it's sequel Hell Hounds) who hails from Greece. He is familiar with the underworld and does a splendid job.

"Remain true to who you really are" Review By Andrew Paul Weston

"There’s nothing quite like this world, and to be honest, I’m hooked. Lindberg has created an unreality where contagion, magic and muses blend seamlessly together into a hauntingly miraculous realm. It’s the stuff of nightmares and daydreams brought to life and made flesh ... corrupted flesh, for the Chromlechon is now the only place where survivors can feel safe.
Adventure, suspense and mystery; depth, poignancy and meaning. Helen’s Daimones has it all, conveyed in a hypnotically evocative way that will draw you in and involve you from the very beginning. 
Do yourself a favor, discover who YOU really are, by involving yourself in the world of Dyscrasia. You won’t regret it." - Andrew Paul Weston 2017

Book For Beverage (Beer/Coffee) Program

Book For Beverage (Beer/Coffee) Program

It is simple. Purchase Dyscrasia Fiction and I'll buy you a beverage.  

For Dick Ward, his choice was beer. What's Yours?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


I am guesting posting!  This one discusses how three recent S&S movies (King Arthur: Legend of the Sword ; Conan The Barbarian ; and Hobbit: Battle of the 5 armies) lured us in with conflict based on a magical artifact, only to sandbag us as the stories finished.

Thanks to James R. Schmidt for the invitation.

Also, keep an eye/ear out. Francesco La Manno runs an Italian website for Sword & Sorcery and is considering translating it:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Sword and Sorcery Group on GR: Nov-Dec Topics

Sword and Sorcery Group on Goodreads

Nov-Dec Group read topics/themes are ANY author or cover artists with the below names. Bonus street cred goes to folks who pick books that have both cover artists and author sharing names.

(a) Any William: Like classics by William Hope Hodgson or William Morris?
Any WILLIAM folder link

(b) Any Michael: Anything by Michael Moorcock, or cover art by Michael Whelan. Any other Michael's are fair game too
Any MICHAEL Folder link

Banner Credits L-->R
WILLIAM side: represented by William Blake (1757-1827), poet, artist, printmaker. 
Mortal Sin
The Great Red Dragon and the Beast from the Sea 
(center) Ancient of Days

Michael Moorcock - cover by Michael Whelan for Stormbringer
Michael Moorcock - cover by Michael Whelan for The Sailor on the Seas of Fate

Stormbringer (The Elric Saga #6) by Michael Moorcock The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (Elric, #2) by Michael Moorcock


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Release the Hell Hounds - guest Andrew P. Weston

Heroes in Hell is a sustained fantasy series that began in the 1980's, continue today, and is welcome to all (it is always a good time to go to Hell). Doctors in Hell is an enjoyable introduction to Hell which serves as a great entry point to the series introduced us to Daemon Grim, which spawned a Grim-focused novel: Hell Bound. Now Grim returns again with Hell Hounds, on Amazon now (preorder until October 25, 2017).


Guest Post by Andrew P. Weston

Heroes in Hell is a series of shared 
world fantasy books,
within the genre Bangsian horror/fantasy, created and edited by Janet Morris and written by her, Chris Morris, C. J. Cherryh and others. The first 12 novels in the saga were published by Baen Books between 1986 and 1989, and stories from the series include both Hugo Award winners and Nebula Award nominees. The series was resurrected in 2011 by Janet Morris with the thirteenth book and eighth anthology in the series, Lawyers in Hell, followed by six more anthologies and three novels between 2012 and 2017.

So, what’s the background?
The shared world premise of Heroes in Hell (also called The Damned Saga) is that all the dead wind up together in Hell, where they pick up where they left off when still alive. The Encyclopedia of Fantasystates "In the long series of shared world adventures begun with Heroes in Hell, Hell becomes an arena in which all the interesting villains in history can come together to continue the relentless pursuit of their various ends.” Brian Stableford commented that the series "adapted the backcloth of Dantean fantasy as a stage for violent adventures with ironic echoes of infernal comedy.

You should be. Just think of what you could do with such a concept, where dastardly deeds, despicable desires and dark secrets are stirred to fruition and laid bare for your inspection. No wonder the series continues to go from strength to strength. 

And do you know what? The Heroes in Hell  Universe continues to expand.

If you remember, Doctors in Hell, published in 2015, introduced us to Satan’s go-to guy in times of trouble, the Goth of Goth’s, Daemon Grim – who just so happens to be none other than the Reaper himself. Fans of the series were delighted when Grim went on to star in his very own HIH adventure – Hell Bound.

In Hell Bound, we met some of the foulest scum ever to have existed, and the book went on to become an international #1 hit. So much so, that the fans have clamored for more ever since.

Well, you’ll be glad to know the sequel has arrived.

Entitled Hell Hounds, much of the action takes place in the underworld’s version of Paris – or Perish as the damned like to say – a place where joie de vivre is replaced by joie de la mort.

About Hell Hounds

Feared throughout the many circles of the underworld, Satan’s Reaper – and chief bounty hunter – Daemon Grim, is known as a true force to be reckoned with.

Having eliminated a major player in the uprising eating its way like a cancer through the underbelly of hell, Grim is stunned to discover he cannot afford to rest on his laurels, for the rebellion runs far deeper than was ever imagined. New players have emerged – denizens with uncanny abilities – who seem determined to support Chopin and Tesla’s revolutionary agenda.

Ever keen to test their mettle, the Sibitti – personified weapons of the ancient Babylonian plague god, Erra – also appear eager to capitalize on the growing unrest, and set about maneuvering events in order to place themselves in direct opposition to Grim’s investigation.

And if that was not cause for concern enough, there’s an insane angel on the loose, a creature as hell-bent on creating havoc as he is to return home.

How do Grim and his rabid pack of bounty hunters respond?

Baying for blood – doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Hell Hounds – We Reap What You Sow.

About the Author
Originally from the UK, Andrew P. Weston now lives on the beautiful Greek island of Kos with his wife, Annette, and their growing family of rescue cats.

An astronomy and law graduate, he writes stories that transform strange dreams into twisted reality and is the author of the international number one bestselling IX Series (The IX and Exordium of Tears) and creator of Daemon Grim, Hell’s gothic hero of misadventure.

A member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the British Fantasy Society and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, Andrew has a keen interest in the paranormal, and devotes some of his spare time to assisting NASA with one of their remote research projects and writing educational articles for and Amazing Stories.